Vi / VIM: Find And Replace All Text Substitute Command

Posted on in Categories , , last updated November 19, 2013

I am a new Linux user. I started to use vim or vi text editor. How do I find all occurrence of the word called ‘eth0’ and replace it with ‘br0’ on Linux operating systems?

Both vi and vim text editor provides the substitute command. It is used for search and replace text.

VIM: Search and replace syntax

The syntax is as follows:

:s/Search/Replace/CommandFlag
:s/Search-Word/Replace-Word/g
:%s/Search-Word/Replace-Word/g
:%s/Search-Word/Replace-Word/gc

Examples

I am going to use the following sample text file:

-A INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT

## full acess to lo and eth0 ##
-A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -o lo -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -i eth0 -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -o eth0 -j ACCEPT

# log spoof
-A INPUT -i eth1 -s 10.0.0.0/8 -j LOG --log-prefix "IP DROP SPOOF A: "
-A INPUT -i eth1 -s 10.0.0.0/8 -j DROP

-A INPUT -i eth1 -s 172.16.0.0/12 -j LOG --log-prefix "IP DROP SPOOF B: "
-A INPUT -i eth1 -s 172.16.0.0/12 -j DROP

To find each occurrence of ‘eth0’ in the current line only, and replace it with ‘br0’, enter (first press Esc key and type):
:s/eth0/br0/g

To find and replace all occurrences of ‘eth1’ with ‘br1’, enter:
:%s/eth1/br1/g

To find and replace all occurrences of ‘eth1’ with ‘br1’, but ask for confirmation first, enter:
:%s/eth1/br1/gc

To find and replace all occurrences of case insensitive ‘eth1’ with ‘br1’, enter:
:%s/eth1/br1/gi
The above example will find eth1, ETH1, eTh1, ETh1 and so on and replace with br1. To find and replace all occurrences of ‘eth1’ with ‘br1’ for lines from 3 to 7, enter:
:3,7s/eth1/br1/g

A quick demo

Animated gif 01: Vim Find and Replace Demo
Animated gif 01: Vim Find and Replace Demo

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

7 comment

  1. what about skipping characters?
    I have ../aaa/ and I want to replace it with bbb/
    I tried the following but it didn’t work:
    :%s /..\/aaa\//bbb\//gc

  2. If one line contain two identical words and i want to replace only one word which i want,
    Which command is use?

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